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Don’t Let Recoil Ruin Your Shooting Fun

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Practically the only bad thing about shooting is recoil—and there are various ways to ensure it doesn’t mess up an otherwise good thing. Read more for alternatives to taking a beating from recoil.

Beginners—or anyone—bothered by a firearm’s recoil (or kick) can always opt for lighter-recoiling guns or calibers. Of course the shooting public collectively knows this, as evidenced by the fast-growing popularity light kickers like .223 rifles and .380 handguns, not to mention the enduring dominance of the virtually kick-free .22 rimfire. You no longer hear a lot of guff from old know-it-alls who mocked those rounds or snorted at the thought of using a 9mm, .243 Win., or 20 gauge. Good riddance, I say. No matter if you’re shooting a .22 or a thunder magnum, the fundamental skills are the same, and so is the degree of difficulty. The main difference is the fun of plinking away, competing or hunting with a gun that doesn’t exact a price in pain. Let’s be clear, you can’t accomplish every shooting task with mild-mannered hardware-but you can do a lot. Here’s a look at nine low-recoil cartridge options encompassing pistols, rifles and shotguns.

.22 LR—America regards .22s as if they’re gold-plated fun. Whether handgun or rifle shooting, this is the first stop for most of us, the training tool from which we learn gun safety and the basics of sighting, breathing and trigger control. The .22 prepares us for more good times with other guns, but no matter what  you shoot or how often, you will continue to find the little rimfire challenging and enjoyable, the perfect blend of “can do” and “tougher than it looks.” Most lifelong shooters wouldn’t consider not owning a .22. Kick quotient-nothing but the noise.

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